LEGO® and Oral Presentation Skills
LEGO® is a great tool for helping kids develop their oral presentation skills. But though most can readily accept the correlation between LEGO® and science, technology, engineering and math (those important STEM subjects we often hear about), the connection between LEGO® and language is sometimes a bit of a harder sell.
And yet, it’s true! Time and again, we at kids n bricks have witnessed firsthand how, through the medium of LEGO®, children suddenly gain the confidence to speak in public. In most of our programs – for schools, camps, parties and corporate events – we engage the participants in creative building challenges. They are then invited to share their design with the larger group. What we’ve discovered is that most children – even those who do not typically speak in public – volunteer to describe what they have created.
What’s the reason behind this enthusiasm?
Well, we believe there are several factors at play (pardon the pun!). Firstly, it has to do with the notion of creativity. Human beings are, by their very nature, creatures who desire to create. Whether it is math or art, composition or construction, the human inclination to make something out of nothing is innate and universal. But creativity demands an audience, and so the desire to show what one has made often serves as the motive for his or her desire to present. In other words, not only do children want to show their end product, they also want to explain the concept and vision behind what they’ve produced.
Secondly, it has to do with re-directing the child’s focus away from the challenge of speaking in front of others and toward the more enjoyable task of building and creating. Most people view public speaking as intimidating. Conversely, those same people regard LEGO® as safe, fun, and interesting. And while standing in front of an audience to give a speech might be considered daunting to a child, standing in front of the same group of fellow builders, to describe what he or she has built with LEGO®, is met with eagerness and enthusiasm. The emphasis is not so much on presentation but on communication.
In an effort to demonstrate and explain what they’ve built, children seeking to communicate effectively invariably develop the skills required to present effectively as well. When nervousness no longer colours the task, good presentation habits tend to follow. Language becomes more natural and free-flowing; children tend to be less self-conscious, and more engaged and engaging. Further, as children search for different and better ways to describe their LEGO® creation, they unwittingly develop the skills associated with composition. Since they alone understand the mechanics of their concept and creation, they alone can compose the narrative to describe it. Consequently, their vocabulary tends to grow as well.
At the end of the day, the reach of “LEGO® Learning” extends beyond the realm of conventional subject matter, and can be easily used as a tool for so much more!
Until next time, leg godt – play well!